Home > Health Conditions Affecting The Elderly > Healthcare Workers In Assisted Living Are Vigilant For Signs Of A Life Threatening Condition

Healthcare Workers In Assisted Living Are Vigilant For Signs Of A Life Threatening Condition

The death certificate listed the cause of death as malignant esophageal neoplasms, essential hypertension and severe septicemia. Those who knew her were aware that she had cancer of the esophagus and high blood pressure, but no one knew about septicemia, let alone what it meant. According to a recent survey, neither do the majority of Americans know what the life threatening immune response condition known as sepsis is.  “The lack of awareness and understanding is one of the major challenges we face in healthcare today,” Dr. Kevin J. Tracey, president of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, part of the North Shore LIJ Health System in New York, said in a news release from the health system.

“One in four hospital deaths are caused by sepsis, yet the majority of Americans have never even heard of the condition. Sepsis is a mystery to most Americans.” The survey of 1,000 adults found that although adults over 65 are particularly vulnerable to sepsis, nearly 70 percent of them do not know what it is. Healthcare workers in assisted living and skilled nursing environments are especially vigilant in watching for signs of infections that could lead to sepsis. Some of the symptoms of developing sepsis are chills, confusion or delirium, decreased urine output, fever, hyperventilation, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, shaking, skin rash and warm skin.

The lay term for sepsis is blood poisoning. Sepsis is a serious medical condition characterized by a whole body inflammatory state and the presence of a known infection. Your body’s response to a bacterial infection in the blood, urine, lungs, skin, or other tissues usually causes it. Your immune system goes into overdrive, overwhelming normal processes in your blood. The result is that small blood clots form, blocking blood flow to vital organs. This can lead to organ failure. Severe sepsis is defined as sepsis with organ failure, hypoperfusion, (decreased blood flow through an organ), or hypotension, (decreased or low blood pressure.) Babies, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to get sepsis. Even healthy people can become deathly ill from sepsis. A quick diagnosis is crucial because one third of people who get sepsis die from it.

The Elderly by *ironist on deviantART

In hospitalized patients, common sites of infection include intravenous lines, surgical wounds, surgical drains, and sites of skin breakdown known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers, which make elderly people who are bedridden particularly vulnerable. The infection is confirmed by a blood test, but if the patient is on antibiotics, it may be difficult to detect. In sepsis, blood pressure drops, resulting in shock. Major organs and systems, including the kidneys, liver, lungs, and central nervous system, stop functioning normally. Sepsis is usually treated in a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. Intravenous antibiotics and fluids may be given by assisted living medical professionals to try to knock out the infection in seniors and to keep blood pressure from dropping too low. Assisted Living residents suffering from this condition  may also need respirators to help them breathe.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing Los Angeles, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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